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What is Freeview Play?

VisionMan

Well-known Member
I am a long supporter of YouView. Always have been, always will be. I am not a fan but a believer it is the future of connected Television British TV broadcasting. And the benchmark.

What is Freeview Play? Well it certainly isn't this, the headline of your piece -

A subscription-free connected TV experience

Its also not this - Freeview Play is simply a way of presenting live TV broadcasts alongside catch-up content and services in a, hopefully, easy to use interface.

At launch users have reported its buggy, slow and not user friendly. Perhaps a couple of software updates will cure it. Perhaps not.

BT and TalkTalk are part of the YouView group but not of the Freeview Play organisation.

By design. They wanted to exclude any and all ISP partnerships so I fail to see the relevance of this observation. Arqiva is also excluded.

Freeview Play aims to be a more all-encompassing, mass-market platform

How? Underwhelming would be the word. This is a platform designed by Freeview, for Freeview and for Freeview only, all ISP free. But in reality it isn't, as one needs an ISP to use it anyway. Bells and whistles and any additional content are provided by individual devices. How is that all encompassing?

Its just another box in an already flooded market. And a fragmented one at that.
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Visionman, this article and the accompanying video are designed to explain in a completely unbiased way, what the new system is, how it works and what it offers end users. It is not designed to say what is or isn't the best system, but rather post our assessment after using the system in some depth. We never tell people what to buy, we just provide accurate information based on use so you are informed in helping to make a decision.

It appears you are very happy with YouView and from your comments above, a staunch supporter. I'm sure you have nothing to worry about with a new service like this - if YouView is everything you need.
 

philipb

Well-known Member
Very fair and unbiased review from Mark.

From someone who has both platforms - the Freeview is not noticeably slower than the Youview and mine has no bugs. User friendliness is about the same once you get used to it. Biggest minus for me is the awful to look at GUI and EPG. Looks like it's been designed by and for partially sighted people. No question the flexibility ( I have recorded 4 channels and watched a fifth:)) ,and the others covered by Mark) and potential of the Freeview box will put it ahead in the longer term if those features are exploited. For now it is a very good bit of kit, just a bit rough round the edges, and not very pretty to look at.
 

VisionMan

Well-known Member
Visionman, this article and the accompanying video are designed to explain in a completely unbiased way, what the new system is, how it works and what it offers end users.
Hi Phil,
It's a very comprehensive and unbiased review, as they always are on here. My compliments to both yourself and Mark. I was talking about the platform, not the article. Sorry for any confusion.
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
The Panasonic Freeview Play pvr is rumoured to launch 1st November.
 
I have youview from talktalk and I am very interested in moving from what is basically one very similar platform to another (when freeviewplay clean up that rough looking UI and bugs that is).

Mostly this is due to the cheap hardware talktalk supply making youview run like a dog and no progam padding options (also the extra tuners are nice). Was going to get a different youview box but the humax model freeview play (or actually any make with similar spec) is now a prefered option.

Youview, freeview - dont care and dont understand any kind of brand loyality to tv delivery systems, I just want something with the most useful features (to me) , goodlooking UI and speed to watch and record some TV. Which is looking to be Play - in maybe a few months further bug fix time of course. I see nothing coming from youview to compete with this, they seems happy to stay as they are in 2012 and hence is no use to me going forward
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
I have youview from talktalk and I am very interested in moving from what is basically one very similar platform to another (when freeviewplay clean up that rough looking UI and bugs that is).

Mostly this is due to the cheap hardware talktalk supply making youview run like a dog and no progam padding options (also the extra tuners are nice). Was going to get a different youview box but the humax model freeview play (or actually any make with similar spec) is now a prefered option.

Youview, freeview - dont care and dont understand any kind of brand loyality to tv delivery systems, I just want something with the most useful features (to me) , goodlooking UI and speed to watch and record some TV. Which is looking to be Play - in maybe a few months further bug fix time of course. I see nothing coming from youview to compete with this, they seems happy to stay as they are in 2012 and hence is no use to me going forward
Apparently the UI is quite different on Panasonic TV's so I imagine the Panasonic Freeview Play pvr will have the same look.

Not sure what features compared to the Humax box it will have, but it's known to only have two tuners.

Hopefully Mark will be able to review one.
 

Har-One

Member
Apparently the UI is quite different on Panasonic TV's so I imagine the Panasonic Freeview Play pvr will have the same look.

Not sure what features compared to the Humax box it will have, but it's known to only have two tuners.

Hopefully Mark will be able to review one.
The UI is very intuitive on the Panasonic TVs and easy to navigate.
 

Har-One

Member
Does it have an EPG info button for the listings? As users have said the info button on the Humax isn't straightforward.
I cannot comment on Humax or any other. The Panasonic TVs with Firefox OS have the EPG per channel and days of the week. There is a small picture of the program, title and channel with a small description. Date and time duration. With some extra information. The info button will bring detail information of the program in a different screen. The channel button of the remote will change to the next channel information.
My Tivo has a similar EPG. The main difference is that the programs are shown by row and the Panasonic is by column.

When I said that the UI was very intuitive and easy to navigate, is a very personal experience. It does not mean that others might not find it complicated. I usually get along with technology.
 

mike7

Well-known Member
Just seen the Humax on demonstration at a local Tech show. Looked extremely clunky in performance although I suspect it was not operating in the best of conditions as the catch up facilities could not be fully demonstrated. The display and EPG looked very ill conceived. None the less it was attracting a lot of attention as it was been hailed, by Humax, as the next big thing. No sign of the Panasonic models as far as I could see.
 
Not Sure what Hype about Freeview Play is all about, on the Panasonic TV there is no difference from normal TV guide, just can scroll back to catch-up content in guide, Only showing BBC Content, No ITV or C4, Pretty Lame to be honest and overhyped, what is all the fuss?
 

Har-One

Member
Not Sure what Hype about Freeview Play is all about, on the Panasonic TV there is no difference from normal TV guide, just can scroll back to catch-up content in guide, Only showing BBC Content, No ITV or C4, Pretty Lame to be honest and overhyped, what is all the fuss?
That is what Mark's article says in his first two paragraphs. As the article says, it depends of the region. I can see BB1-4, ITV, Channel 4, More 4, etc. However I cannot see ITV & C4 in HD.

I agree that Freeview will not change the world of television. I have Tivo and it will not add anything to it. However, for people who do not have such a device, it might be a convenient way to see a program they missed. I do not think one can do that with the TV guide from Freeview.

What sort of service were you expecting Freeview Play to be?
 

philipb

Well-known Member
Apart from the somewhat over the top TV ad, there has been very little fuss about the launch of Freeview Play. There has been an irrational attack on it by one or two people for reasons known only to them. I assume they have not owned and operated one of the new Humax boxes, making claims that they are slow and buggy. I am using one, comparing it to my Youview box, and it is not slow in comparison nor is it buggy. The EPG and the integrated roll-back is better designed on Youview and feels slicker because of that. In day to day use however there's nothing to choose really.

The new Humax boxes are more feature laden than the Youview boxes as Mark describes in his review - 3 tuners, networking capability, archiving recordings, etc. For many people these will make the FV Play boxes a better proposition, but as always its horses for courses.
 
.

What sort of service were you expecting Freeview Play to be?

This was hyped a lot on youtube and by Panasonic, I thought it would bring a better EPG and all the catchup services like youview, but it does not. The Panasonic Layout is pretty bad, in London and not all catch-up content shown, also you have to go forward then back to switch to another catch up channels epg, pretty lame. Not sure why Panasonic made us wait this long, for a pretty lame and poorly thought out service.
 
The new Humax boxes are more feature laden than the Youview boxes as Mark describes in his review - 3 tuners, networking capability, archiving recordings, etc. For many people these will make the FV Play boxes a better proposition, but as always its horses for courses.
The issue with the HUmax box is that is does not render the EPG at 4K, given the price of the box and features and a lot of users who will buy the box have 4K TV would seem silly not to render the EPG at 4K. It's only text after all.
 

Har-One

Member
This was hyped a lot on youtube and by Panasonic, I thought it would bring a better EPG and all the catchup services like youview, but it does not. The Panasonic Layout is pretty bad, in London and not all catch-up content shown, also you have to go forward then back to switch to another catch up channels epg, pretty lame. Not sure why Panasonic made us wait this long, for a pretty lame and poorly thought out service.
I have not seen any of the adds. I have heard of freview play but I was not very bother about it. My Tivo has some similar service so I so no reason to change what I am already familiar with.

"A better EPG" I guess that a very relative term. I thought that it was very user friendly. It felt a bit odd at the beginning because it was slightly different from my Tivo. The Tivo has all the information in a the same row where the channel is and the Panny's has columns per day. So in the Tivo one can see more channels in the same page and the Panny's shows more days for the same channel, which I found more friendly. By the way, you do not need to go forward and back to change the channel. If you change the Channel in the channel button, the EPG switches the channel's information as well.

I might be wrong but I think that Panasonic is not providing this service. It just provide the user interface on its TVs. I assume that like Freeview it will get better with time. People who have no subscription television will appreciate being able to watch some missed programs. In my personal case. I like it on my Tivo. I can record 3 programs simultaneously on my Tivo. I want to record more sometimes and I can record the program which is not provide by the service. It is a "free" service (one needs Internet connection).
 

Har-One

Member
Daft question but would this work without an ariel just for catch up TV?
Yes, the service does work without aerial connection. You will need Internet for sure. At least on the Panasonic TVs. Somebody with a different device might try it and give you an answer as well.
 

mike7

Well-known Member
Does Freeview Play (as incorporated in Panasonic tvs) provide HD versions of the main channels when you 'wind back' over the previous week. When it was demonstrated to me it appeared to be SD.
 

Har-One

Member
Does Freeview Play (as incorporated in Panasonic tvs) provide HD versions of the main channels when you 'wind back' over the previous week. When it was demonstrated to me it appeared to be SD.
It should do it with any supported channel. I think that it is region related. I can only think the this will become a more general feature and the number of channel will increase.
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
Does Freeview Play (as incorporated in Panasonic tvs) provide HD versions of the main channels when you 'wind back' over the previous week. When it was demonstrated to me it appeared to be SD.
Only the BBC have a HD catch up service (720p 25). All others are SD unless you have a Sky box, these download HD to the box built in HDD.
 

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